Building 026

The old library in Arnhem was an austere and closed building. It is located on a dividing line between the historic city centre and the post-war reconstruction around it. A large-scale renovation gave the building a second lease of life, partly through the introduction of specially developed glass panels. The openness and transparency enabled the building to find its place and works as a hinge between the two parts of the city.

Flexible, open and inviting

An important intervention in this transformation is the creation of spatial excess. This is created by removing two mezzanine floors, adding a new floor, and clearing up the existing office floors. These modifications make the building future-proof in terms of its functionality. This means that Building 026 will not only easily accommodate a wide range of functions, but it is also simple to implement these future function changes.


The facade acts as an intermediary between the human size of the city centre and the large-scale block structure of the post-war fabric. For instance, the new facade mainly consists of glass, which is fitted within rectangular frames. These frames allude to the window frames of the historic buildings in the inner city, and thus to the human scale. Going towards the post-war city, the facade gradually gains more glass, which makes the underlying floor structure more and more visible. This connects the building to the more abstract nature of the post-war fabric.

A vertical ripple has been introduced into the glass panels as an ornament. These ripples give an extra layer to the building. They emphasise the vertical height of the facade and refer to the grandeur of the former city hall. Since the ridges were primarily introduced on the south and west facades, it allows sunlight to reflect pleasantly into the nearby square.

The truth is in the detail

Buildings from the 1970s and 1980s are not always characterised by dimensional stability. The shell of Building 026 also varies considerably, by centimetres rather than millimetres. The new facade is intelligently detailed so that all of these dimension various can be resolved without any loss of quality. Although there are four different facade principles, these were in fact developed from a single connecting principle. Since we performed exploratory demolition work at an early stage of the design process, we were able to establish the technical and financial aspects of the new facade. The implementation details are proof that this thorough approach works.

  • commission: redevelopment of former library
  • location: Koningstraat Arnhem
  • client: Colliers International
  • project management: db-M
  • structural engineer: ABT
  • fire safety consultant: DGMR
  • building services consultant: ABT
  • contractor: Van Wijnen Oost
  • sustainability: energy label A
  • floor area: 14.000 m²
  • design: 2014
  • completion: 2016
  • photography: Ossip van Duivenbode and Eva Broekema (black-white)
  • particularities: nomination NPR Gulden Feniks, nomination Glass Award, nomination Willem Diehlprijs